I want to let you know that I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month with a goal of around 20K words. But I'll talk more about that in another post! Today I'm reviewing SCYTHE, a book by Neal Shusterman.
For those of you unfamiliar with the author's name, Neal Shusterman is not new to the writing game. According to his bio on the book, he's written over thirty books and is the New York Times Bestselling author of UNWIND. I haven't read UNWIND, but I did read his book EVERLOST a few years ago, which means I am familiar with his writing style.
By now, you're likely asking yourself what Scythe is about. Here's a quick summery (written by yours truly):
SCYTHE takes place in the future, when humanity has conquered death through technology. People can only be rendered "deadish" by falling from buildings or being shot. The only way people die in the traditional sense is if a Scythe ends them.
Citra and Rowan are selected to be apprentices of a Scythe, and it's decided that only one of them can be a Scythe. The other will be killed.
Despite this, Citra and Rowan begin to fall for each other. But the Scythedom is beginning to fracture into two sects, and Citra and Rowan are being pulled apart with it.
A LOT happens in this book, so it was a little hard to give you the stakes while not spoiling the book. If you want to read the Goodreads summery, you can check it out here.
Before I begin gushing about SCYTHE, I feel like I have to start with a little disclaimer. I'm not a huge fan of Shusterman's writing style. It's very formal and can be a little awkward at times. I've read books where I feel like I'm experiencing the story alongside the characters. Not so with SCYTHE. The writing distanced me from the action, and I never felt like I was part of the story. I was simply a spectator rather than part of the adventure.
Those of you who have read my other reviews know that I can be incredibly forgiving when it comes to reviewing a book if I love the writing. Even if a book has sub-par characters and a mediocre plot, I'll still give it a good review if the writing is amazing and addicting. The fact that I enjoyed SCYTHE enough to review it shows that the book's other qualities were wonderful enough to overcome writing that falls in to the "meh" category. That's no easy task.
The plot is full of twists and turns, making for an incredibly entertaining journey. While the reader gets to see quite a bit of Citra's background, very little of Rowan's is revealed. While this works within the confines of the story, I felt like I was left with more questions than answers about who he is.
But what really makes this book stand out are the ideas. The premise is fascinating, and the story prompts questions about when death is merciful and when it isn't. The world has lots of really cool elements to it that I wish I'd thought of first.
In sort, I recommend SCYTHE. If you read it for the story and the ideas it contains, you'll enjoy it. Just be prepared to find the writing a little clunky.